John was a little disturbed when he dropped me off at the beach. "Do you know where you are? Do you know where the buses are? Do you know how to get anywhere?" I casually waved him off; hey if I can get around countries that I find myself in by accident then I can get around Perth's northern suburbs.
The beach was north of Mullaloo, so in the suburbs and not too crowded. I found a sandy spot amongst the rocks which I didn't have to share with anyone. This was good because I hadn't any bathers (sporty underwear and a confident attitude; that's my tip girls). I had a great time because I hadn't lounged on a beach since last year's Rally Sardinia. For those of you on the normal Gregorian calendar and not the World Rally one, that's October 2004.
I had a great time doing nothing, taking photos of sand, listening to the wind, splashing at the water's edge. It was so novel that I didn't mind that sand got everywhere that the flies didn't. I felt a bit soft and foreign; I was wearing too much clothing and didn't have a board of some sort but in my little space away from the crowds I reckoned from a distance I must have looked like Elle McPherson... right...
I chose to walk to Whitfords which I figured I had the right direction for - so long as I kept the coast on my right. Perth isn't great for footpaths, it's really a car owner's city so I had to cross the road a lot of times. I kept forgetting which way to look; it was all quite perilous.
I found myself singing Sophie B Hawkins in the middle of suburbia amongst the mock-Tudor, mock-Med and mock-everything styled housing until one very exhausted Chaplain rang, causing me to sing and dance to Sophie B in the cul de sacs. Neighbourhood Watch are on alert.
My walk took me past my school, along the path we'd jog on the way to swimming at the beach for PE. We hated it. It was hot and sandy and we stung from jellyfish and drank from people's garden taps. The school looked smaller especially with the encroaching shops (we used to be so tempted by Hungry Jack's proximity) The oval hill where Glenn O was left with his broken arm after a vicious game of British Bulldog seemed so small. And I could only just make out the native garden area where I was caught and detentioned for repeatedly using the F word. (I said I had bit my tongue and was cursing in pain, but really I was a truck driver gutter mouth). I could even remember Kingsley and Rupert's beautiful song Jealous Cry that was sung at our final assembly and the haunting words and drum beats accompanied me until the school disappeared from sight.
At Whitfords, I decided to hit the shops in anticipation of tomorrow's canoeing trip (yes Sami, finally I am baiting the sharks!) I am not a shopper especially for clothes. And I found shopping for swimwear something verging on the hilarious... For staters, bikini tops for women over the age of 12? I actually laughed out loud when I tried one on and saw how little support it provides. And who on earth wants to swim with padding; salty soggy bits of foam against my skin all day? No thanks. Once I had got over the hilarity of this, I tried on pants. You know girls, when you hit that age when you just can't look good in bikini bottoms so you opt for boy shorts? Yeah well that phase is short lived too. My cellulite has cellulite, you know what I mean. And those tight little boy shorts, they just fill the holes with lycra. It's scary. I bought mini board shirts which, while not completely hiding the offending areas, offered a fairly decent apology.
I also managed to get some super cool sunnies which I of course need for the blinding snow and hangovers of Finnish winter. A very effecient sales girl was determined I wasn't going to look like a dork and made sure I tried on every pair. I thought this was very kind, especially when I later realised that I still had half of the sandy beach plastered to me, including my forehead and lips. Not a good look...
So, twilight falls now in the Northern suburbs. I've kind of been asked on a date (by a very young man from the Motorsport dinner). Because he's very young, it's not a proper invitation, more a series of grunts and gestures. But I don't feel like going, and not just because he's an adolescent mix of grunting but well groomed hormones. My heart is elsewhere. It's singing John Denver, drowning in chocolate and forgiving aliens.